Giants’ 2014 UDFA Class: Any gems in this group?

After the draft, NFL teams delve into the frenzied world of trying to locate and sign undrafted free agents (UDFA), the players that did not selected in the NFL Draft. The Giants have landed quite a number of players in the UDFA market in years past, most notably Victor Cruz, Henry Hynoski, Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger. This year, the Giants — who are looking for offensive help — reportedly signed one offensive player (Xavier Grimble, TE, USC – still unconfirmed by the Giants) and a bevy of defensive players after the draft:

Confirmed

  • Justin Anderson, OLB, Lousiana-Lafayette
  • Thomas Gordon, S, Michigan
  • Eathyn Manumaluena, DT, BYU
  • Kelcy Quarles, DT, South Carolina
  • Kerry Wynn, DE, Richmond

Reported

  • Jordan Stanton, DL, James Madison
  • C.J. Barnett, S, Ohio State
  • Emmanuel Dieke, DE, Georgia Tech
  • Dan Fox, LB, Notre Dame

Not sure what they accomplished here except to create a logjam for DC Perry Fewell to sort out at camp this summer. In the draft, four of the seven players the Giants selected were on the defensive side of the ball: DT Jay Bromley, S Nat Berhe, DE/LB Devon Kennard and DB Barrett Jackson.

This was after the Giants’ had already addressed defensive backfield needs by signing CBs Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie, Walter Thurmond, Zach Bowman and S Quentin Demps. They also re-signed CBs Trumaine McBride and S Stevie Brown and extended CB Prince Amukamara. On the defensive line, they signed Robert Ayers as a free agent and re-signed Mike Patterson. LB Jameel McClain was scooped up after being release by the Ravens. MLB Jon Beason was re-signed as was LB Mark Herzlich. LB Spencer Paysinger was tendered.

So, do we have any surprises under the roof at QDTC this summer?

We’ve already covered Manumaluena, Grimble and Wynn yesterday, so here’s a quick lowdown on the others from Lou Musto of Cover32.com:

Kelcy Quarles, DT, South Carolina: Per NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan, he’s “Aaron Donald-lite.” Not quite as athletic, but he is powerful and excels against both the run and pass.

Emmanuel Dieke, DE, Georgia Tech: He’s coming off a shoulder injury, but that shouldn’t affect the 6-foot-6, 270-pound defensive end. He had 28 tackles and one sack this season for the Yellow Jackets.

Dan Fox, LB, Notre Dame: He recorded 63 tackles in nine starts this past season. He has prototypical size for a middle linebacker in Perry Fewell’s defense (6-foot-3, 242 pounds) and is good enough in pass coverage, having picked off two passes in 2013.

Justin Anderson, LB, UL Lafayette: Little-known linebacker from Louisiana Lafayete. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, he may be better off with a position change to safety.

C.J. Barnett, S, Ohio State: An aggressive safety who excels against the run. Makes great reads and has great instincts to diagnose a play in front of him and react accordingly.

Thomas Gordon, S, Michigan: A talented, average-sized safety who started 11 games for the Wolverines in 2013.

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

I wouldn’t exactly say Quarles (6’4″, 298) is “Aaron Donald light”, but he’s not a bad pick if he can color between the lines in the pros. Lots to like about his game and potential. He is actually be more talented than the Giants’ third round pick Jay Bromley, but was passed over due to character issues. He was recently exonerated in a criminal case involving an a assault at a Manhattan night club. Nevertheless, his draft stock took a hit. CBSSports.com had Quarles ranked 109th overall (Bromley was 215) and by all accounts should have been drafted. This could be a huge pickup for the Giants. Huge.

Dieke has excellent size (6’6″, 270) and the Giants apparently want to see if they can mold him into a pro. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Dieke impressed defensive line coach Robert Nunn at a private workout before the draft at Tech. Nunn was on the phone with Dieke as the draft was ending, essentially recruiting him to sign with the Giants. “We just felt like it was a better fit for me and a better chance for me to make the team,” Dieke said. “They need defensive ends and I talked to Coach Nunn, so he really wanted me there.”

Fox (6’3″, 233) replaced Manti Te’o as the Irish’s MIKE LB this season, but was hampered by a knee ailment for a good part of the season. According to JJ Stankevitz of CSNChicago, Fox has a bit of a chip on his shoulder after he did not receive an invite to the Combine this past February.

Not much is known about Justin Anderson (6’2″, 232) because he played at such a small program. NFLDraftScout.com ranked him No. 25 of draft-able inside linebackers this year. Anderson recorded over 100 tackles in each of the last two seasons.  Very productive, but not sure if he’s NFL material. We’ll have to wait to see him in the flesh to determine that, I assume.

Barnett (6’1″, 202) went undrafted partly because he did nothing to boost his profile in the offseason, specifically dodging the combine. The last impression he left scouts with was his shoddy performance in the Big 10 Championship Game vs Michigan State.  But there is more to Barnett. He suffered a knee injury in 2010 that forced him to take a medical  redshirt, then returned to win back the safety spot in 2011. He is an intelligent player with a high motor. As per Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com OSU coach Urbam Meyer has said that Barnett is “a guy who just doesn’t accept being average.”  We’ll see.

Gordon (5’10, 213) was Michigan’s starting SS last season. He did not participate in the combine but showed his athleticism at Michigan’s pro day by running a 4.49 4o and registered the highest vertical leap of any participant at 40.5 inches. He is a heady player with good instincts and is a solid tackler. Also played on special teams, which should interest the Giants, who are searching for gunner on kickoffs and punts.

Stanton (6’4″, 262) tweeted on May 10th that he had an invite to the Packers’ rookie camp. Apparently that’s off now, as his agent announced Stanton was signing with the Giants. As per Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, Stanton also drew interest from the Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts. More from Wilson:

The All-Colonial Athletic Association conference defensive line selection had 56 tackles, 11.5 for losses and eight sacks last season. The converted defensive lineman pulled his hamstring during his first 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, but bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times, had a 29-inch vertical leap and had a 9-7 broad jump. He’s fully healthy now, though….As a junior, he had 37 tackles, six for losses and three sacks…He had 29 tackles, 4.5 for losses, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble.




5 comments
cole3244
cole3244

if you look at the numbers from last year our d was not that bad considering how inconsistent the o was, improve the o and the d should be better.


with all the holes we have bringing in more bodies is certainly one way of trying to plug holes at least for depth, the draft can only do so much, lets remember cruz was an udfa and i presume no one saw him coming either.


over the years there have been players that weren't drafted and made a team and had a productive career so bringing in fa isn't just a waste of time as some suggest.

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The Giants lost an absurd amount of games by starters due to injury last year and did not have the necessary depth to plug the holes and overcome it. So while you can look for the team to be a little luckier in this category in 2014, depth will not be a problem for the Giants. Especially on the defensive side of the football where they are loading up on bodies. I would argue that TE is the only glaring hole on this roster from both a quality starter/depth standpoint. Reese has done a great job this off-season.


These days quarterback play and pass rushing are the two most important areas. These two areas will ultimately decide the fate of the 2014 Giants. Let's not forget that Eli Manning and Jason Pierre-Paul have shown that they can be in the top 5 in the league in both of these areas. I believe Eli will return to top form with a better supporting cast and more unpredictable offense than last year. JPP is a total question mark based on his health. A resurgence from both of them plus the quality depth up and down the roster can lead to the Giants being a legitimate threat next season.

jaymanjay
jaymanjay

This is getting embarrassing. Why does Reese not like his job john?

He is about as confident as he was last year that the offense is fine and how did that turn out. Why are there still no tight ends and no offensive linemen or wide outs on this list?

rico
rico

@jaymanjay  the offense was fine until 9 offensive lineman went down, Wilson sputtered then broke, Andre Brown broke Hyno went down, Nicks was hurt and disinterested the rest of the way…sooo it's not all on Reese that injuries hit so hard.  

jaymanjay
jaymanjay

You need depth but more importantly you need talent. Bring in a bunch of backups does not increase the talent on the line. John Jerry? There is reason Reese was able to get bargains on these guys